WP 99/034 - Contemporary Labour Market Policy and Poverty in South Africa

Muzi Maziya

Date of Publication: 
December 1999

This paper outlines the recent labour market reforms in South Africa and discusses their likely impact on poverty and the working poor. Using an innovative framework developed elsewhere in the literature, the paper shows how labour market processes and outcomes can affect the level of household poverty in a country. The impact of post-apartheid labour market reforms on poverty is then assessed on the basis of their likely effect on unemployment, skill levels, the bargaining power of the workforce, and the "quality" of jobs. The analysis suggests that the recent labour market reforms are likely to contribute to a reduction in overall household poverty. However, their impact on poverty would be stronger if policies were adopted to assist the most vulnerable workers in the face of likely employment losses.

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